We open on Bronn and Jaime, surfacing on the opposite side of the lake after apparently swimming the length of it underwater. So not only are we tearing through the fabric of space-time so characters can traverse immense distances within a day, we’re also ignoring the biological limitations of the average human body. Got it.
Bronn asks what the fuck Jaime was doing charging at Daenerys and Drogon. Jaime wanted to end the war by killing her. Bronn wins me back by calling Jaime a cunt and telling him he’s not allowed to die until Bronn says so. After witnessing what one dragon’s capable of, Jaime’s realises they have no chance of defeating three of them and needs to tell Cersei. Yup, and I’m sure she’ll be super reasonable about it.
Tyrion walks through the smoky aftermath of the battle, clearly appalled. I get his inner conflict at the sight of his family’s forces reduced to ashes, but I also wonder what he was expecting the dragons to be used for? Super-fast defrost?
The survivors from Cersei’s forces drag themselves before Daenerys. Drogon’s perched behind her, hoping for treats. Dany tells the soldiers she’s not like Cersei; she just wants to protect the common people and break the wheel of privilege and stuff. She totally doesn’t murder people…so bend the knee OR DIE.
Most of the men kneel after a little nudge from Drogon, but not Sam’s arsehole dad or Rickon-Dickon. Randyll Tarly insists he already has a queen. Tyrion points out that his loyalties are somewhat flexible, given he was loyal to the Tyrells up until recently. Randyll gives Tyrion shit about murdering his own father – yup, the guy who was going to kill his own son and make it look like a hunting accident. Pot-kettle, Sam’s arsehole dad!
Lord Tarly refuses to bend the knee and won’t concede to being sent to the Wall. Dany respects his choice and asks if he can kindly move away from the others – he’s about to become a human fire hazard. Rickon-Dickon, who seems like a nice kid but not the sharpest sword in the armory, steps forward to say he won’t bend the knee either. Looks like Sam’s going to inherit Horn Hill after all.
The Targaryen-Jaws theme kicks in. The Tarlys receive the dracarys treatment, which leads those still standing to fall to their knees. Tyrion’s clearly uncomfortable with Dany’s methods. Dany’s starving and could really go a burger.
Inside the Red Keep, Jaime rushes to tell Cersei they’re fucked. Cersei’s pretty matter-of-fact about it, asking what he think’s she’s supposed to do – propose a peaceful surrender? He did betray and kill Dany’s dad, after all.
Jaime tells Cersei that Tyrion didn’t kill Joffrey – Olenna did. Cersei barely registers this aside from wishing she’d ignored Jaime and tortured Olenna to death. So I guess Tyrion’s not getting an apology anytime soon then? Jaime tells Cersei they’ll be wiped off the map like the Tyrells if they don’t find a way out of this war. Cersei would rather fight and die than submit and die, and can’t understand why Jaime’s not down with that plan. Have I mentioned how much I hate Cersei’s wig?
Dragonstone, where Jon Snow’s brooding on the cliffs again, his cloak flapping in the wind. FFS Jon, can’t you just sit in your room and sulk while listening to The XX like everyone else?
He watches Dany approach on Drogon and looks suitably awestruck. Drogon lands and gets up in Jon’s face, preparing to bite his head off. No, wait – secret-Targaryen pheromones. In that case, he just wants a head scratch! Good boy! Dany watches Jon pet Drogon and silently thanks the Gods; Drogon used to shit in Daario’s shoes all. The. Time.
(This scene’s reminiscent of that time Tyrion managed to pat either Viserion or Rhaegal…so I’m still leaning towards Tyrion being the third head of the dragon.)
Dany jumps down and Drogon gives her a hilarious ‘is this our new Dad?’ look before taking off. Dany tells Jon that the dragons are her children. Jon stares at Dany with unrepressed longing…or he think’s she’s butt-fuck crazy. I’m can’t tell.
Jon marvels at the short commute between Dragonstone and the freaking Reach. Dany announces she has fewer enemies than she did yesterday. Jon disapproves and broods at the same time. Dany tells him they both want to help people, and sometimes that means melting the flesh from the pawns that make up your enemy’s armies and reducing their bones to ashes on the wind.
Dany presses Jon for more info about what Ser Davos said when they first arrived – something about taking a knife to the heart? Lucky for Jon there’s a distraction: Jorah’s back!
Dany’s thrilled. Jorah’s wondering if pity sex is out of the question. Jon’s pissed off. Or cold. Or mildly confused…that’s the problem with lingering looks when the actors are squinting against the frigid wind – they’re so damn ambiguous.
To Winterfell, where Bran wargs into a crow to fly North and see what the Night King is up to. He comes upon the army of the dead and sees they’re heading for Eastwatch by the Sea. Send ravens, Maester not-Luwin!
To the Vatican Citadel, where a bunch of old white men in robes are sitting around a table, discussing how superior they are to everyone else. Sam enters and overhears the contents of Bran’s message. Yet again the maesters refuse to listen when he tells them it’s all true – the army of the dead are coming. He leaves in a huff.
Dragonstone. Tyrion’s drinking and Varys is fidgeting. They’re worried Dany’s becoming a Sith Lord, like her father before her. Varys has Bran’s raven for Jon Snow – pre-read, or course.
Cut to Jon, finding out that both Arya and Bran are alive. Dany’s right – he seems fairly upset about it. Jon announces that he needs to go home – with the army of the dead approaching Eastwatch, his (remaining) family are in danger. He’ll fight with the men he has, unless Dany will join him. Dany’s unwilling; as soon as she marches away, Cersei will march in.
And here comes the stupidest plan in the history of Tyrion’s stupid plans. Don’t get me wrong, he’s my favourite and all – but this idea is fucking preposterous at both ends. I know! Let’s appeal to Cersei’s better nature – which quite clearly doesn’t fucking exist, btw – by sending approximately 5 dudes to track down the immense army of the dead and kidnap a wight. Assuming that doesn’t go tits-up – and it will – we’ll take said dead guy to King’s Landing and present him to Cersei, at which point she’ll surely express her horror (even though she’s basically got a dead guy as a bodyguard) and dedicate her remaining forces to defeating the White Walkers, HURRAH!
Everyone nods at the sheer brilliance of this idea.
Tyrion’s going to talk to Jaime to get him to convince Cersei. Jorah volunteers his services to capture a wight, which makes Jon feel inadequate – so he’s going too. Dany’s devastated – she hasn’t slept with him OR burnt him alive yet, so she’s not giving him permission to leave. Jon tells her he put his trust in her – now she has to put her trust in him.
To Winterfell, where the fickle Northern Lords and Knights of the Vale have had enough of Jon’s absence, and want Sansa to take over. Christ. Whatever happened to ‘the North Remembers’? Sansa makes a half-hearted attempt at assuring them Jon’s doing what he thinks is best, while Arya watches on. They lock eyes; Starkbowl’s a brewin’!
Sansa and Arya walk and talk. Sansa snits that she warned Jon that this would happen; he couldn’t leave the North and expect it to sit and wait for him, like Ghost. Between that and Davos joking later that he thought Gendry might still be rowing, I’m beginning to think the writers are using fan memes as source material now they’re well beyond the books.
Arya defends Jon, telling Sansa he trusted her to take care of things while he’s gone. They enter Sansa’s chamber, which was once Ned and Catelyn’s – and Arya’s unimpressed. The sisters argue, and Arya uses her House of Black and Boring powers of deduction to guess Sansa’s motivations: she wants to lead instead of Jon, and is banking on the support of the Northern Lords and the Knights of the Vale. I’m distracted by the height discrepancy between the two of them; Maisie Williams makes Sophie Turner look like the BFG. Anyway, tensions are escalating quickly between the Stark sisters, and neither of them has even ‘borrowed’ anything from the other’s wardrobe yet.
BOOM, Davos and Tyrion are in King’s Landing. Seriously, it’s like watching Bewitched. They pull their boat ashore and head in separate directions; Tyrion’s off to find Jaime, while Ser Davos has Baratheon-bastard business to attend to in Flea Bottom.
Bronn leads Jaime through the dragon museum beneath the Red Keep for a ‘secret training session’, aka angsty brother reunion. Jaime isn’t happy to see Tyrion, while Tyrion’s clearly happy to see him – Dinklage the master plays this scene perfectly as the little brother desperate to reconnect with his brother and make him understand his reasons for killing their father. Personally I buy the whole ‘he was going to execute me for no reason’ thing, but not Jaime. Noooo siree. Tyrion kills their father before their father can behead him – unforgivable. But Cersei, long murderous history aside, blowing up an entire landmark full of innocent people – that’s fine. Sigh. Fuck you, Jaime.
Tyrion tells him Daenerys is willing to cease hostilities if Cersei agrees to certain terms i.e. let’s meet up for brunch – you bring the wine, we’ll bring the dead guy.
Ser Davos finds Gendry working on the Street of Steel. Gendry, seemingly high on speed or other methamphetaines, jumps at the opportunity to join the cause without actually knowing what the cause is. But he has a hammer, like his father before him – which I thought was cute.
This week’s comic relief is brought to you by two moronic Gold Cloaks, who allow Ser Davos to ply them with gold and fermented crab when they stumble across the boat. I’m not opposed to these kinds of scenes, but I feel like the time could have been invested in a prolonged conversation between Tyrion and Jaime – their love and conflict is far more gripping. The Gold Cloaks buy Davos’ story until they spy Westeros’ Most Wanted Dwarf. Gendry takes care of business with his hammer – and the comic relief is now dead. Last week’s guards at Winterfell got off easy in comparison.
Back in the Red Keep, Jaime confesses to Cersei that he met with Tyrion, who told him Daenerys wants to meet up to chat about the army of dead men marching on the seven kingdoms. Cersei’s in; she thinks it’s a great opportunity for Red Wedding 2. Also, she’s knocked up. Jaime’s thrilled, but also creeped out when she tells him never to betray her again. Is Cersei really pregnant, or just playing Jaime to ensure his continuing loyalty? What will they name this one? Will it burst forth from her stomach, Xenomorph-style? So many questions.
Davos introduces Gendry to Jon Snow. Gendry, still riding high and unblinking on crystal meth, vows to fight the good fight with Jon beyond the Wall. Also, he comments on how short Jon is. Ha! Joe Dempsie plays Gendry with the intensity and impulsiveness that the young Robert Baratheon was known for, but I think the issue is that it’s so vastly different from shy, quiet Gendry of seasons past – and we haven’t witnessed how his character evolved during the time in between.
On the beach, Tyrion and Jorah have a bro moment of farewell – I’ve missed these two together. Also, I’m calling it: Jorah’s gonna die next week. Possibly sacrificing himself to save Jon, knowing Khaleesi’s smitten with him.
Speaking of Dany, she’s here as well – remarking that she and Jorah should be better at saying farewell to each other by now. Erm…I’m not sure those two times you sent him into exile count?
Now it’s Jon’s turn. I’m pretty sure Kit Harington’s boots have kitten heels. Dany pins him with the look of super-speedy-underdeveloped love, and says she’s grown used to having him around. Jon: *backs away*….well…gotta go! Sad music plays. Jorah looks back one last time. Don’t worry, Jorah…your time in the friend zone is about to end. Forever.
Oldtown, where Sam’s scribing and Gilly’s memorizing facts for the next Westerosi Trivia Night: blah-blah number of steps in the Citadel. Blah-blah number windows in the Sept of Baelor. Blah-blah-blah Jon Snow’s actually the trueborn heir of Prince Rhaegar and legitimate King of the Seven Kingdoms. Mic drop!
Sam (steamrolling over Gilly, as usual): THAT’S IT. There’s nothing to be learnt here…I quit! And he does, after stealing some books – Sam’s turning out to be quite the kleptomaniac.
Back to Winterfell now, where Arya is spying on Littlefinger. And when I say spying, I mean lurking in a fairly obvious, well-lit fashion. Given he’s a seasoned veteran of the King’s Landing spy network, Littlfinger’s clearly onto her and makes a show of looking especially shady.
Arya eventually breaks into his room and finds a secret scroll she saw Maester not-Luwin give him; it’s the raven Cersei forced Sansa to write back in season 1, denouncing their father and calling for Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey.
Arya’s shocked and horrified, and I seriously don’t know why. Wouldn’t she put two and two together and realise it was a political move on Cersei’s part? She’s smarter than this. She’s always been smarter than this. Yet we’re meant to believe Littlfinger is playing her like a violin? Or is this a double-pretend on Arya’s part? I’M TIRED AND HUNGRY.
Jon and co arrive at Eastwatch. Inside the castle, Torment says the only sensible thing anyone’s said during the entire episode: this is a stupid fucking idea. He also gets the best line: And you need to convince the one with the dragons, or the one that fucks her brother?
Turns out Jon and the gang aren’t the only ones who want to commit suicide beyond the wall: the Brotherhood – including the Hound – are here for the same reason. They compare notes and decide that for the sake of plot expediency and a super-dramatic end shot, they’ll all head out together.
The gate’s raised, and after some dramatic staring at each other, the Fellowship of the Dead-Guy head out into the true North.
Next week: Death is the enemy! Jon! The Hound! Lots of snow! Dany and Tyrion! A shit-ton of dead guys! Arya VS Sansa! Muchos fighting! Beric’s flaming sword! And hopefully one kick-arse, dragon-operated rescue mission? Yes??